Belleview Park Theater Room Build
My gear list is still changing as I plan but below is the most up-to-date:
Screen: 120"-130" AT
Fronts: Triad Silver IW
Surrounds: Triad Bronze OW
Rear Surrounds: Triad Bronze OW
LFE: HSU ULS-15 MK2 X 2
AVR: Marantz SR6013
Bluray: Panasonic DP-UB820
Line Conditioner: Panamax M5300-PM
Rack: Sanus CFR2127
Misc: ATV4K, Sonos, Samsung Smartthings Hub, XBOX One
And so it begins. HT 2.0.
I am in the early stages of planning my 2nd HT room at our new home and I am hoping to get some soundproofing advice before I move further along. Final thickness of walls and ceilings obviously affect my construction/framing plans so I am turning to y'all for advice so that I can get the ball rolling with my contractor for some of the initial framing work that he will do for me.
I should also preface all of this by saying that I posted some of what I’ve said below over on the Master Soundproofing thread a couple of weeks back (with helpful responses so far from @HT Geek and @ronny31 – thank you). I did not want to derail the thread over there so I thought it would be best if I started a build thread. I look forward to continuing the conversation here.
To put it bluntly, I am up against several challenges building this room in the space that I have chosen. The biggest challenge being lower-than-normal ceiling joists (91” off slab) throughout my basement. :( The dimensions of this space will be 12’ 5” W x 21’ 5” L (give or take a few inches) and it will be a more dedicated room (albeit smaller) this time around. When I built my room in my former house 6 years ago, I started the build with mostly finished walls and ceilings and the space was more of an open living area with projector, screen, in-wall speakers, snack ledge, etc. It was also at least 2.5 times the size of this space with 8’ ceilings throughout (see link to that thread in signature below). It required two 15” PSA subs for LFE (and I probably could have used two more to be honest).
The biggest priorities that I have for this room are soundproofing and stepping up the quality of the audio a little bit from what I had before. I hope to accomplish both of these things without breaking the bank. Video display is still a priority but, to me, a picture is a picture and it is safe to say that I will not be dropping $10K on a PJ. :D So, whether or not I go with a PJ or a large TV remains to be seen but it will depend on what is available out there in the short-throw market for PJs. This room does not need to be built to the triple layer drywall standard like some here on AVS have done (like a bunker) but I would like to try to minimize sound out and sound in as best I can. I’d like to prevent sound from getting up to the 1st floor and I’d like to keep out the sound of a nearby furnace and a washing machine/dryer combo (behind Wall F).
The good news is that I have some flexibility in terms of building out my walls, adding additional layers of drywall, ceilings, insulation, etc. because not one existing wall of the room is built up against an exterior/foundation wall. There are some air ducts/returns in between ceiling joists in the room now so I’ll just have to do my best with adding additional insulation and layers of drywall where warranted. Not the most ideal situation to have ducts in the ceiling I know but relocating the vent ducts/returns is not an option. I have since removed the dated drop ceiling/grid in the room and I intend to go back with new lighting and a finished drywall ceiling. Central air/heat ducts will be added to the room (one return and two vents) and the rough-in work for them will take place shortly at the same time that my contractor frames out the modifications for Walls E and F.
Below are two sketches of the room as it is today. The only difference in the two being that the top version does not show the 1st row of theater seats and the 2nd one does. I have lettered each wall (A-F) on the sketch so you can tell which wall I am referring to in my detailed descriptions and questions below and in the four videos below:
Wall A is the wall I am proposing for the front of the room. The back of Wall A is insulated with 3” R11 in stud bays but does not have drywall on the back side. Nor will I be able to add any drywall on the back of the studs as it is way too tight back there. I have approximately 18” between the back of the studs and the exterior foundation wall behind it (I know, no bueno for soundproofing). This thread here is proof. :eek: That wall continues across my basement to the other side with the same amount of space (running behind it). When natural gas was added to the house years ago, they ran 2 gas lines through the space behind my wall and secured both of them to the back of the (exposed) studs about 80” off the slab. Relocating the gas lines is off the table…it is cost prohibitive.
The plan for this wall is to go with in-wall speakers (with backer boxes since I have plenty of room back there) or on-wall speakers (Triad Bronze 4 LCRs). I have not given up on the possibility of in-walls behind an AT screen (if I can go the projector route) but I have to get this soundproofing issue resolved before I can commit to that. As I said above, it will be impossible to build another wall between the existing Wall A and the foundation wall due to the gas lines (and a water line) that run behind. Ceiling height in the front section of the room (where it meets Wall A) should be somewhere around 89-90” depending on how thick I go with DW on ceiling.
What is the best way to approach soundproofing Wall A and dealing with the space behind it?
Wall B is yet to be constructed but its purpose is obviously to close off the room from the other half of the basement (and the staircase). A 30” doorway will be installed in this wall with a solid core door. This will be 1 of 2 doors for entry to the HT room.
Should I build Wall B with DD and GG on both sides?
This is currently the only finished wall in the room that I cannot gain access to from behind because it is the finished side of the basement staircase. This is also an issue because the right side surround speaker will be installed in/on this wall. This may force me to go with an on-wall speakers for surrounds since 1) there is a lally column right inside the wall where I need to install the speaker and, 2) because an in-wall speaker would only have a single layer of 1/2” drywall between the back of the speaker and the staircase. That could easily be an issue with sound transmitting up into the staircase which could act as an echo chamber. I have also considered building columns/pilasters for the side surrounds but, again, that would take away and protrude into the 28”-30” aisle that I currently have going down each side of the room.
Would it make any sense to add an additional layer of drywall with GG over top of the existing drywall to give myself more mass on this wall? Building another wall in front of the existing wall is not an option here because I am very limited on width in the room and sacrificing another 6-9” is just not in the cards.
Similar to Wall B above, Wall D’s purpose is to close off the room from the other side of the basement (towards the back of the room). Walls B, C & D are more like “sections” of one whole wall and together will make up the entire right side wall of the theater when built and connected to one another.
Should I build Wall D with DD on both sides as well?
As shown on the sketch, Wall E will be the back of the room and is being modified a bit so that I can square out the room. Squaring that corner out will expose a lally column in this wall (that is currently in the unfinished storage space behind) so I will most likely have to box out the lally column slightly on the back wall so it remains behind drywall. I have access the backside of this entire wall and, could in fact, build another wall behind it if need be. I need to prevent sound from getting into this storage area because it could traverse on up to the kitchen and family room located above on the 1st floor. This wall has R11 in stud bays but does not currently have any drywall on the back side (facing storage area). I will also be closing off an existing 30” doorway on this wall. The plan is to have both rear surround speakers (Triad Bronze 4 LCRs) in/on this wall.
What would be the best approach to soundproof Wall E?
This wall is being slightly modified to meet Wall E in corner. I cannot build anything behind this wall due to the location of our gas furnace (the new wall will already be about 4-5” from back of the furnace) and because we are moving our washer and dryer down there and installing a utility sink (for immediate use). A 30” solid core door will be installed on this wall and it will be the only way in and out of the laundry and unfinished storage areas. This wall also has 3-in. thick R11 in stud bays and, like Wall A, does not have drywall on the back side. I could easily add a layer or 2 of drywall to the backside of this wall without too much trouble if that would be effective. The left side surround speaker (Triad Bronze 4 SURROUND) would reside in/on this wall as well.
What would be the best approach to soundproof Wall F?
The plan is to finish the remaining open ceilings in the room with drywall (areas that had drop ceiling). The old drop ceiling tiles have been removed. The bays in the open areas are insulated with 3” R11 and, for the time being, I re-secured all insulation up with new supports. The grid will be removed when I get around to temporarily securing the two 2x4 fluorescent lights that are in there now.
Should I consider using GG and DD for the finished ceilings? And what is the recommendation for the already-finished ceiling/bulkhead that is 80” off the slab in the back section of the room? Would it be effective if I added another layer of DW with GG over top of the existing?
As shown on the sketch, a boxed-out I-beam (finished with ½” DW) crosses through the middle of the room approx. 80” above grade. Is it worth adding another layer of DW to it as well or just leave as is?
Also, there is an area of open ceiling (approx. 4 feet - front to back) between the front edge of the existing bulkhead/ceiling in the back of the room and the beam that crosses the middle of the room. I was thinking that I should have my contractor frame out and marry the bulkhead ceiling with the finished beam in the middle of the room and call it a day since they are both currently 80” off slab. This would mean that I would be running an 80” ceiling from the back wall of the room all the way up to the beam that crosses the middle of the room. The higher ceiling would then only be in the front of the room – between the beam and Wall A.
In the 4 videos I have linked below, I have done my best to give you all a quick walk-thru of the room so you can get a better feel for the situation with existing walls and ceilings and those that I intend to have modified and/or built.
I know in-wall equipment racks are not always recommended for soundproofing reasons, but I do not have another wall or closet-like area that will accommodate this. I need to be able to access the back of the rack outside of the room and that location puts the rack in a closet that we are building anyway to enclose a HW heater and sump pump. I really like the convenience of having the front of my rack in the room so I can tinker and manually adjust things. Below is the plan and photo of my last in-wall rack and I will probably build something very similar this time around:
I also plan to have another snack ledge built, similar to what I did in my last room (w/ granite top) that will accommodate three more seats (swivel stools) and serve as the 2nd row of seating in the room.
Thanks in advance for your insight and opinions.
Below I have cut and pasted all of @HT Geek 's responses from the other soundproofing thread. I wanted to have them here for my own reference.
Hey there. This looks like it's going to be an interesting build. Before I dive in with my 2 cents, allow me to mention two house-keeping items: 1) Thank you for doing such a great job framing your scenario and questions right out of the gate. I'm sure the fact this is going to be HT v2.0 for you has a lot to do with it, but I'm sayin' that anyway. Nice diagram too. 2) It's a tough time of year right now to get folks' attention on these matters (myself included). It seems like most of my neighborhood is on vacay this week, and I don't blame them!
Now... to the topics at hand....
[quote]I am up against a few challenges using this space - the biggest one being lower-than-normal ceiling joists @ 91” throughout my basement. The overall dimensions of this space will be 12’ 5” W x 21’ 5” L…give or take a few inches and it will be more of a dedicated room this time around. When I built my room in my former house back in 2013, I began with mostly already-finished walls and ceilings and the space was a more open living space with a home theater set up within it (it was at least 2 1/2 times larger with 8’ ceilings). [quote]
Width is a little tight, but do-able. Are those your gross dimensions (stud-to-stud) and joist-to-concrete floor? Just wondering how much will be shaved off for various things.
Do you know what your state/local municipal required minimum floor-to-ceiling height is, whether it is measured finished or unfinished, and what the criteria for measuring are? It would be good to know ahead of time. Don't count on your contractor for that. The homeowner is on the hook (even if you paid someone to screw it up for you). If you plan on not getting a final inspection, it may be a non-issue. I'm not here to preach to anyone about building inspections. Just sayin' those are things you should take into consideration.
[B]The #1 priority for me is soundproofing this room... without breaking the bank.... minimize sound out/sound... please the wife upstairs (on the 1st floor)... furnace and a laundry area just outside of the space.
Priorities: $, WAF, noise. Check.
... have some flexibility... not one existing wall of the room is built up against an exterior/foundation wall.... ducts/returns in between ceiling joists in the room.... relocating the vent ducts/returns is not an option..... new lighting.... Central air/heat... rough in work....
HVAC... lighting... the whole 9-yards. Good.
.... I have lettered each wall (A-F) so that you all know which wall I am referring to in my descriptions below:
Before we get into that, what is on the outskirts of the room-to-be? You mentioned Wall A and the 18" gap w/gas lines. What about the other spaces. I'm especially interested in better understanding the "south" wall (bottom of diagram) that says, "staircase edge wall." Please elaborate more on what is (or will be) on the other side of your perimeter walls, other than Wall A.
... front of the room. The back of this wall is insulated with R11 in stud bays but does not have drywall on the backside.... I have approximately 18” between it and the exterior foundation wall behind it. I know, no bueno for soundproofing. This thread here is proof.
Unless I missed something, I believe you may be reading too much into that thread. You do not have a triple-leaf scenario if I understand you correctly, but I'd like to verify. My understanding is on Wall A you do or will have, layered from inside the theater, out:
- Drywall -
- Green Glue??? -
- Drywall -
- Stud wall -
- 18" air gap -
- Foundation wall -
Is that correct? If so, you are GTG. What you want to avoid is something you mentioned you cannot do anyway - applying drywall to the outside of the stud wall of Wall A (nearest the foundation wall). That would give you a triple-leaf situation and bad juju.
In fact, an 18" air cavity there is a bonus. You could stuff it with insulation and make it even better, but I would advise against it since it is contrary to your rule no. 1 (minimizing cost). That's a lot of insulation. Plus, it is likely unnecessary. Some insulation would be a good idea (I would say required, to reduce reverb off the concrete wall behind your screen), but you don't need 18" + 3.5" stud wall thickness worth.
That said, the finished wall continues across my basement - to the other side - with the same amount of space running behind it the entire way. When natural gas was added years ago, they ran 2 gas lines straight through the space and secured both of them to the back of the exposed studs about 80” above grade.
Ok. Now, here is the part where my antenna go up. The NG line. You MUST ensure you can access that if you ever need to. Nothing fancy, but you need a plan (at least). It doesn't have to be an easy plan, but you need a contingency plan. It's no different than if you had to rip out a wall elsewhere in your house in the future for whatever reason, except it's your HT room and this room will be built differently from the rest of your home. I would suggest that at a bare minimum you have drawings that show where things are, so you know what to do should that ever become an issue.
Also, please make sure the pipe is properly protected per code (just saying this since I don't know exactly how it's run atm).
I am hesitant to install in-wall speakers on Wall A for obvious reasons (even will backer boxes) so the plan for now is to go with on-wall Triads for the front L-C-R.
Why? You have an excellent cavity that many people would be jealous of. Speaking of which... have you considered the option of moving the wall further back toward the concrete foundation wall (obviously including moving the gas line)?
As-is, it sounds like a great space for in-wall speakers (unless I'm missing something, as previously mentioned).
I have not given up on the possibility of in-walls behind an AT screen (if I go the PJ route) but I have to get this soundproofing issue resolved before I can even consider that. I put in a contingency for an additional 4.25" inside Wall A in the event that it is recommended that I build another wall for soundproofing. It will be virtually impossible to build another wall between the existing wall and the foundation wall due to the gas lines and a water line that run behind.
And to that point, perhaps moving Wall A is not an option, period (aside from potentially being a cost you don't want to take on).
Either way, if you can fit backer boxes in the stud-Wall A, I would do it. I don't see any reason not to unless there is an encroachment where you would want to place them. BTW, I have also drunk the Triad Kool-Aid. They work very well (Triad in-walls). Speaking from experience.
Ceiling height in the front section of the room should be somewhere around 89-90” depending on how thick I go on ceiling.
What is the best way to approach soundproofing Wall A?
Ceiling height should be OK.
The big concern I have for Wall A (besides the utilities behind it) is that I would bet the wall is built like a normal house wall. Is it load bearing? I would presume not, but it's not good to be presumptuous about such things. So, here's the clincher... are you interested in building a true "room-within-a-room," or no? And if yes; clips or double stud???
See above for other suggestions on Wall A. Other than above, the usual double-drywall-Green Glue sandwich recommendation.
This wall is obviously yet to be constructed but it’s purpose is obviously to close off the room from the other half of the basement (and staircase). A 30” doorway will be installed in this wall with a solid core door (this will be the only door in and out of the room).
I need to break here for a late dinner, and will return w/response to remaining questions in a few. LoL.
This wall is obviously yet to be constructed but it’s purpose is obviously to close off the room from the other half of the basement (and staircase). A 30” doorway will be installed in this wall with a solid core door (this will be the only door in and out of the room).
Should I build Wall B with DD?
Yes. I would say that's a given for all internal walls. Ideally, a double wall or clips & channel as well. Insulation inside stud cavity.
This is currently the only finished wall in the room that I cannot gain access to from behind because it is the finished edge of the stairs.
Would it make any sense to add an additional layer of drywall over top of the existing drywall to give myself more mass? Building another wall in front of the existing wall is not an option here because I am very limited on width in the room and sacrificing another 4-5” is just not possible.
Yes; I would. Green Glue sandwich. Preferably with clips and channel as well if that is feasible. Insulation inside stud cavity.
Similar to Wall B above, this wall’s purpose will be to close off the room from the other side of the basement in the back of the room.
Should I build Wall D with DD as well?
Yes. Green Glue sandwich. Preferably with clips and channel as well if that is feasible (or double wall). Insulation inside stud cavity.
I would also consider doubling up drywall on the other side of the wall (with or without Green Glue).
As shown on the sketch, this wall is being modified a bit so that I can square out the back left corner of the room. Expanding that space will expose a lally column in this wall so I will most likely have to just box it out on the back wall so it is out of sight. I can access the backside of this entire wall (large unfinished storage area behind it) and I could in fact build another wall behind it. This existing wall has R11 in stud bays but does not have drywall on the backside.
What would be the best approach to soundproof Wall E?
Perhaps a double wall. It sounds as if you don't need to be concerned with sound on the other side (unfinished storage). However, you should still be concerned with flanking noise traversing upstairs. Thus, sticking with the motif of double wall (with interior wall de-coupled) and DD/GG sandwich seems prudent. Clips and channel a possibility as well if that is feasible (vs double wall).
Also seems like a good candidate area on the other side for and adjacent equipment closet.
This wall is being slightly modified (to meet Wall E). I cannot build to much behind this wall due to the location of my gas furnace (the new wall will already be about 4-5” from it) and because we are roughing in a laundry area and powder room for construction at a later date. A 30” solid core door will be installed on this wall so that we can access the new laundry room and the storage area. This existing wall also has 3-in. R11 in stud bays but does not have drywall on the backside. I could probably add a layer of drywall (or 2) to the backside of this entire wall without too much trouble.
What would be the best approach to soundproof Wall F?
This looks like another area where preserving future access (or at least a plan for access) needs to be a focal point. I see there is also mention of a sump pump area to the NE of the diagram.
DD/GG on the inside. I suggest at least one layer (preferably 2) on the outside (laundry room side) in case you're ever doing laundry while using HT room.
Preferably double wall or clips and channel. Insulation inside stud cavity.
Looks as if the doors facing each other across the room is most practical approach from standpoint of LR ease of use/access.
The plan is to finish the ceilings with drywall as well. Old drop ceiling and grid are down. The bays above are all insulated with R11 and, for the time being, I re-secured all insulation with new supports.
Should I consider using GG and DD (5/8”) for the finished ceilings?
Yes, I would; on clips and channel.
And what is the recommendation for the finished ceiling/bulkhead that is only 80” off the slab in the back of the room? Would it be effective if I added another layer of 5/8” drywall over top of the existing with GG?
As shown on the drawing, a boxed out beam (1/2” DW) crosses through the middle of the room approx. 80” above grade. Is it worth wrapping this in another layer of 5/8” DW as well or just leave as is?
I would suggest to do what you can. GG + 5/8" DW, you will lose another 3/4". Not much. Given your starting point, going from 80" down to 78" or so (after flooring) is where you're going to be no matter what you do. Just how it is.
Of course this gear list is subject to change but below is my proposed A/V gear as it stands today:
Plan A: PJ - Researching feasibility of short-throw PJs at this time
Plan B: SONY 85” XBR-85X900F TV
AVR: Denon AVR-X4500H
BR: Panasonic DP-UB820
Power Cond: Panamax M-5300
Amps: TBD (if necessary)
Fronts: Triad On-wall Bronze 4 LCR x 3
Surrounds: Triad On-wall Bronze 4 SURROUND x 2
Rear Surrounds: Triad On-wall Bronze 4 LCR x 2
Apple TV 4K
Thanks in advance for your insight and opinions.
Thoughts on your equipment:
-PJ could be partially hidden in front of the front bulkhead.... possibly
-Other option on PJ would be back wall, but you'd need a long throw
-PJ would likely be too short if above the seating area... would avod placing there since it would need to shoot under bulkhead
-You will need amps with those Triads to get the best performance out of them
-If I understood Wall A correctly in my last post, consider going with AT screen and moving speakers and subs behind it - provided you could do a false wall for screen and decoupled wall behind them
-AT screen decision depends partly on whether or not the appearance would be desirable/beneficial; might not make sense
Excellent videos. Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post them. Very helpful, as you have a somewhat complex scenario.
I'm going to just run through my thoughts while watching your videos and reviewing your diagrams again, in no particular order:
1) Video No. 1 @ 0:31
2) Planned Equip Rack Location (In-Wall Rack)
Let's talk a bit about the rack logistics. Your plan should include:
I'm going to throw out some alternative suggestions on rack location for you.
Rack Plan B) Wall E
* Equip rack on rear wall
Rack Plan C) Wall D
* Build an equipment rack closet
Rack Plan D) Wall D (modified Plan C)
* Under the stairs
Tear out all your existing drywall.
Your room is perfect for clips and channel. I would do it on all walls and the ceiling (more on latter below). Why? If you don't, you will get flanking noise travelling up into the 1st floor above.
Double-Drywall + Green Glue sandwich mounted to the channel.
Use clips and channel, DD/GG sandwich.
I see two possible strategies here:
A) Use extended ceiling clips (and channel) where the bulkhead and I-beam are. Do as you suggested and lower the area between bulkhead and I-beam so it is uniform height in that portion of the room.
B) Use clips to lower the ENTIRE ceiling to a uniform height.
Either way, you already have a drop. Here, clips and channel are not reducing your headroom. It's going to stay the same (lucky for you). :)
You are going to have to perform some sort of HVAC modifications no matter what. Since you have access to the unit, I recommend tapping off (or as close as you can) to the main unit, and using an electronic damper to control air flow into the supply side of the HT room. This would allow you to have remote control of heating and cooling the room, independently of the remainder of the home. If you put a dedicated thermostat in the room and get a zone controller, it's a huge bonus. You're looking at around $500-600 for parts (zone controller, Z-Wave or Zigbee thermostat, electronic damper, flex duct, 24vac transformer). You probably don't need an in-line duct blower given proximity to the HVAC equipment. Also don't forget you will likely want/need duct mufflers. You can DIY them if you are so inclined, which will keep their cost down to about $25-50 in materials presuming 2 vents. Finally, you will need vents and you'll need to include a return. I would also use flex duct for the return tie-in. Expect 2 supply vents + 1 return vent to run you about $200-300. Another $100 for return flex duct. Total outlay around $1,000 for HVAC (parts only). Even if you don't take on my suggestions, you better budget $300-500 just for proper vents and duct work.
It won't hurt them as long as your AVR is powerful enough. However, nearly all systems benefit from dedicated amps. Plus, it expands the headroom of your system. They could be added later to reduce up-front costs. Just make sure you plan accordingly re: rack space and rack cooling strategy.
6) On/In Wall Speakers
I still don't see why not use in-wall speakers for front and rear. Side walls it could be done, but staircase wall is a challenge (but could be done with care).
A significant advantage is it allows manual control of functions that are rarely used. Plus some people like to be able to tinker with physical volume knobs. Especially, small children. LoL. :)
Random notes I forgot to include in my last post....
Connecting and boxing in the bulkhead and beam, along ceiling
- Why is the bulkhead there in the first place?
- Before making that decision, I would rip out all the existing ceiling and see what you've got to work with
Entry door, thickness
- Suggest either a Double door / double thick door here or a communicating door style (i.e. entry door as planned, and another door, perhaps at bottom of stairs
- Additional doors might not be feasible, and may not meet WAF requirements
- Potential big problem with double door if you are doing clips & channel on that wall (tough to make it look/work well); another option is do a double stud wall on that wall, but I am concerned about the loss of room width in your case
- Tough call no matter what. Bare minimum is a solid core wood door. As heavy as you can find.
Entry door, size
- Why 30"?
- Can you do 32"?
- The size doesn't matter from a sound proofing perspective. It's a question of what works to move things in/out of the room and what size the other doors in your home are. Recommend same size as your other interior doors unless room constraints dictate otherwise. I can't tell for sure from tape marks in the video if 30" suggestion is due to constrains or if it's arbitrary.
- Is there a beam at the front of that? Is the majority of it hollow?
- If hollow, are you planning something for the space, or is it just dead space?
1) You are very observant. The object that you saw @ 0:30 is just a few wires that I capped off when I removed the baseboard heaters from the room. I have the same thing on Wall F where I removed a heater there as well. My electrician will clean all of that up when he is doing his thing. Non-issue.
2) Equip rack location - Your Wall D scenario is something that I thought about a few weeks back so it is interesting that you came up with it as well. If I were to go with that scenario, I would likely demo out the wall (back of the staircase - where the little grey access door is now) so it would totally open things up more in there - especially for storage purposes. There was enough room (depth-wise) where I had proposed BUT I'm really liking the Wall D scenario now that you've brought it back to my attention. :) And now that I think about it, having that rack so close to the screen wall doesn't make much sense at all. Great advice there.
3) Walls - I really need to educate myself further on clips and channels. If you have any websites or videos that I can watch to better understand, that would be extremely helpful. I also need to get my contractor up to speed on this because he will be installing new walls and ceilings. I will likely take on the demolition of drywall myself if I decide to go that route. Easy for me to do. I really like your A strategy for ceilings and it is really important to me to have my ceiling as high as possible on the front half of the room even if it is a different height than what I am dealing with in the back of the room.
4) HVAC - Awesome suggestion for cooling/heating in the room. I am going to talk with my HVAC guy and get him to quote me on making all of that happen. Elec. damper to control air flow, dedicated thermostat, zone controller, duct mufflers, 2 vents/1 return, flex duct return tie-in, the whole 9 yards.
5) AVR/Amps - My last room I had Polk 265RTs for 5 of my 7 speakers and I was feeding the L-C-R on the front wall with an Emotiva XPA-3 amp (200wpc). I ran the speakers for about 3-4 months without amps during my build so I had heard them for some time. Then I added the amp and they were totally different speakers - a massive difference!!! So, if anyone knows what amps can do to a speaker, it's me. ;) If I go with the Triad Bronze 4 LCRs for the front L-C-R and the rear surrounds, I'll have 5 speakers that are rated to 200w. The Bronze 4 Surrounds are rated to 140w so I'd likely need a separate amp to feed those as well. Feel free to chime in if you have any amp recommendations particularly since you currently own Triads.
6) Speakers - At this juncture I am leaning towards in-walls for the fronts and center on Wall A and for the rear surrounds on Wall E. If it turns out that I need to go on-wall for my side surrounds, no skin off my back. The speakers are only 4" deep or so - not a deal breaker. I can have them painted to match the wall color as well so they will blend nicely either way.
7) Projector/TV - If I am able to find a PJ that can throw in the 6-8 foot range, :eek: my preference would be to mount it just in front of the beam. The projector would be a little forward of my head (MLP), pretty much right over footrests extended in the 1st row of seating. Might also be kind of loud, depending on fan noise on the ST projector. :confused: Mounting a PJ below the beam (approx. 9' from front wall) would just be too low and mounted anywhere behind the beam we start to get into it being over the snack ledge seating. Mounted on a glass shelf of the back wall (under the bulkhead) I'm almost certain the PJ would be too low and the image would be blocked by anyone sitting at the ledge on stools. I am just starting to research PJs so we'll see what I can dig up in that department. I really like your suggestion to prep/reinforce the ceiling for a PJ mount if I should decide to go the TV route at this stage.
8) Doors - originally I had 32" doors in my plan but I knocked them back down to 30". My thought was that I should minimize the size of the door for soundproofing reasons. If it doesn't matter, I might as well go with 32" doors. Solid core wood doors without a doubt. Makes total sense. Can't hurt to have a couple more inches. :D
9) Great idea to open up the bulkhead in the back of the room. If I am demolishing out walls, I might as well knock that out too. I can sort of see what is running up there (besides air ducts) from the other side of Wall F so I'll have to get up on a ladder with a good light this weekend and see what I can see up there. You asked if there was a beam towards the front of the bulkhead and the answer is NO. There is a beam towards the very back of that bulkhead (running above/with Wall E). In fact, if you go to the 0:00 - 0:10 segment in my Part IV video, you can see the side of that beam exposed - running just above the two horizontal 2x4's that are randomly nailed to the studs on the back of Wall E. As far as I know, that beam that you see runs from the lally column (that I will expose when I demo the two walls that they cut the corner with) all the way over to the foundation wall on the other side of the basement.
Hey there. Your comments above all sound like you are on the right track.
Regarding the entry door, the width really doesn't matter. Imagine a hole in your room that water can leak through, and the remainder of the room is water-tight. It won't matter if the hole is 30" or 36". That's about the best way I can think of to describe that. Now, what does matter is whether or not you use sound-proofing techniques around the door perimeter, such as an automatic door bottom and rubber stops to seal the edges of the door. You will be amazed at the difference if you conduct a before-and-after test with sound blaring on the inside of the room, and listening from outside the door without and then with those sound-proofing products. All the parts will run you roughly $200-300, depending on brand and design.
Amps.... I don't like to make a big deal out of it, because some people are adamant in their views one way or another. However, since you mentioned your experience, yes, I agree. Those Triads are designed to be used with an amp, which really allow speakers like that to create the depth they were intended for. It's like going from mono to stereo.
PJ... this is the big conundrum for me in your theater. What screen size would you be interested in, and at what aspect ratios?
I recommend playing around with the Projector Buying Guide at ProjectorCentral.com. It will give you a good idea of PJs that will or won't work for you. I poked around with it a bit. At 7-1/2 feet from the lens, ~85" wide screen is about the max you can do (according to their calculator) without spending $12k or more. That is presuming Full HD resolution (1920x1080), 16:9 aspect ratio, 85" WIDE (not diagonal) screen. Diagonally, that's just under 98" @ 16:9 ratio.
PJ Screen Size Calculator
Another important factor we haven't discussed yet is how far back from the screen eye-level will be for your 1st row. With a 98" diagonal 16:9 screen, THX rec is 10'. Just giving you a starting benchmark.
Before we get in the weeds on this, we should clarify your goals with regards to PJ capabilities, screen size, seating/viewing distance, PJ location options. What's on the table, and what is off the table? There's no point coming up with a solution where you love the picture but feel your experience is diminished by the PJ location. For example, is 4K a requirement?
I am definitely content with a 16:9 format / 1920x1080 so 4K is not a requirement for the projector route. I am not ready or interested to pay for a true 4K projector at this stage of the game.
My last screen was a very basic 100" 16:9 Elite Sable and my eyeballs were 10' 6" from the screen. I never once felt too close. Hell, I believe I would have been fine at the 9' - 9'6" range if I had too. Where I have the first row of chairs penciled in now, it would put my eyeballs 10'-11' from the screen. I would love to find an AT screen (Silver Ticket, Elite, etc.) that I could just mount on the wall after sinking the L-C-R speakers in-wall behind it.
My budget for a PJ will top out at around $4K. Now that I've got the July vacation behind me, I really need to focus and spend some time looking online at various PJs. I need to make a decision once and for all if I am going with a PJ. That is definitely my preference at this time. Hell, I've already got 2 4K TVs in my home - I sure don't need another. ;):eek:
Could the access door to the storage could be moved? And at what room depth does the support post end up at?
Couple notes on the rack, stuff one will not necessarily know unless you've had the bad fortune to build a rack filled with equipment before:
Note: Check your local area (ebay and the like) for used professional racks, if you're lucky by the time its time to install the rack then you might have found a cheap huge proper professional rack with shelves and everything. This is a lot better than a wooden rack. If one of the amps goes up in smoke you don't want firewood around them. If you can't find a cheap professional rack you can use some cheap ceramic tiles to reduce fire risk, especially glued onto the underside of each shelf (think about it, heat goes up so that's where the entire rack will catch fire first if equipment catches on fire). That'll buy you time for the fire-alarm (ceiling next to rack) to go off and for you to hurry over and put the fire out with the fire extinguisher you have on the wall next to the rack (not in the rack, a couple yards away). A fire-extinguisher you actually had the foresight to have serviced and refilled. I would have one CO2 and one powder, the CO2 is the first thing you use then if the fire is not out by the time its empty then you can drown it all and kill the equipment that is still functioning with the powder (better than that lose the house). And even if you would be able to get there in time without the tiles, the tiles will save you from having to clean every single piece of fabric in the room to get rid of the bonfire smell that comes from the fire briefly making smoke from cooking the underside of the shelves.
Remember that the fire in your equipment could result from a lightning strike or fault on the electric grid locally (downed line or tree over the lines etc). Electronics is basically a plastic tinderbox.
I would also definitely have a door on the rack that can be locked. You don't want a child or animal to touch the equipment and potentially destroying it (The equipment is somewhat warm, so a visiting child can then conclude the equipment should be coca-cola-cooled). For that matter adult males have a tendency to want to check out the electronics and then they put down their beer on one of the shelves...
PS: All the labeling stickers in the world is needed to label every cable four times (where it comes out the wall at each end and each end, that makes for four points). The label at the end is liable to get destroyed. Use transparent sticky tape to cover the sticker tag. Here's a top tip, use these:
just google "printable adhesive roll ebay" to find some in the size you want. Then you can laminate them with transparent tape.
PPS: You will need some shrink-wrap for wires, so get some when there's a good sale. You don't know for what yet, it can be a sharp edge so you need to reinforce the protection on a few wires, it can be a weak connector, it can be a speaker wire you separated a little too far along the seam between the wires. When in a rack the force on connectors especially can be quite high on occasion. Hence why professional wiring has so strong connectors you can pretty much drag a 20 lbs weight along the ground just from the connector. To see just sit down with a microphone in your hand and have someone pull you along by the mic cable. EDIT: That is how strong your custom-installed connectors should be, if any. At least so strong that you can drag a person along a slippery floor.
Addition: If you're not using professional equipment (which I gather is indeed the case) then use some cheap galvanized screw hooks into the sides of the rear of the rack. Like 30+ on each side.
You wind each wire around a hook a couple times before plugging it into the equipment.
That way when you snag a wire (it is inevitable that you tug a wire by accident), you will then not pull it out.
Which worst case scenario ends up being you wondering "FROM WHERE?!" (well, worst case scenario you pull the wire out of the connector itself and wonder from where).
A ghetto solution but it works. Audiophiles probably have a 500 dollar solution if you prefer that. I just prefer to not wind the speaker cable around the same hook as the signal cable.
+1 to a rack bargain, but I'd try to find one with shelves. You also can buy lacing bars and attach to the rear rails. I mix a good deal of shelf mount and rack mount.
You also can build in a rack, and make stick framed and drywall walls, and host a door in the back. Those racks are so flexible, but they are hard to resale, so they don't seem to command
much around here.
I wouldn't sweat the 80" rear soffit as you might view it as a screen soffit. I do have a 59" deep at space, and five soffits at 80", and a 16x9 54x96" AT screen does indeed fit. With an embedded
masking system too.
The real question is if you drop the screen lower, is the bar row sightlines. A side sightline diagram to scale, would answer how low the screen can be go.
The last picture is my old rack, with a bunch of shelves from a new (to me) rack I bought. That rack which I felt was impossibly cheap, but it had sat around for 2 weeks. The rack it replaced lingered
for a week plus, at $200 and I dropped the price to $150 and got $130 fast. Wanted it gone... (you might note those shelves in it, have some opening for lacing potential. The new rack came with a
bunch of 1/3 U plates that I threw in (at the bottom), as the new owner could lace to them.) His plans were to raise the rack on a wood base, make a door, and mount it in the wall of his theater. Both
of us came away with substantial racks at a bargain price point.
I even thought about moving the door to the center of the back wall (Wall E) but then it becomes a pain-in-the-neck walk around when we need to access the laundry room. We would have to walk through the unfinished area (and eventually a bathroom) to get to the laundry room. My wife would not be amused. ;) WAF = O. LOL. She wants to come down the stairs, cut through the room and be right into the laundry area.
I like my symmetry too, but you might consider a wall treatment that visually hides the laundry room door.
You do have some flex to the side surround positions too.
Thanks so much for the input. You didn't mention anything about it in your post, but I just clicked on the thumbnail sketch you provided that suggests flipping the room 180 deg. :eek: Interesting concept there that I will have to revisit again. Due to the higher ceiling height in the back of the room (what I had planned as the front), it would allow me to build a riser back there so that the back row of seating is higher. In my last room, the row of theater chairs and the snack ledge were on the same floor level and, when sitting at the ledge on a stool, I could still easily see over top of the heads of those sitting in the first row. So I don't know that I need a riser back there if I were to do 1 row of seating + a snack ledge behind. That said, flipping the room like this might enable me to add a 2nd row of theater chairs and do away with the snack ledge altogether.
My plan very early on had the front where the back wall is now. However, I initially abandoned it because the snack ledge (or a 2nd row of chairs) would then be blocking my path from the entry door to the proposed laundry room door location. If I did flip the theater, I may have to relocate the door (see above post) otherwise we would not have a straight path across the room. And relocating that door is proving to be very difficult to do at this time.
Sometimes it is about feeling out what a person wants, or might be able to do, or might even be open to considering. No real point going into great detail, if it's not a direction one wants to take.
(Although I sometimes think maybe a suggestion might be worthwhile to some other person reading a thread, even if an idea doesn't work for the thread's OP.)
The one nice plus about the bar row is the tight foot print, and how you don't need a tall riser.
The Savoy rocks out a stealth entry and has a rather impressive entry system that doesn't disturb people watching the movie, when entering or leaving the theater.
It is an insanely brilliant idea, but one I didn't even clue in on, as to how brilliant, until I had some seat time in The Savoy. It totally eliminates the splash of bright light
that disturbs a movie experience.
Now this is a pretty extreme example of a home theater, but would a sliding fabric panel in front of the door, meet WAF? Or what if the door was pushed back, a la The Savoy,
and then one could use the bathroom, without disturbing the movie experience?
Some other approaches that come to mind.:
The first two are fully hidden. GPower's av rack is interesting. Minimal access and full access
hnkudr's room has two almost hidden doors.
From Day 1 I've said I would keep an open mind about the layout of this room, that I'd listen to others' ideas and that I will not rush any decisions. So the other night after @Tedd 's suggestion, I spent a couple of hours down there taping out different "what if" scenarios on the floor and walls for door locations, speaker locations, etc. if I were to flip the room entirely 180 deg (front wall is now back wall and back wall is now front wall). Surprisingly, I actually like the new layout better. :eek: One of the most critical things that I do not have a lot of flex with is the location of the door to the laundry room. In this scenario I did move the laundry room door more towards the middle of the room (Wall F) about 18" (and I am still holding strong on a 32" wide). I also moved the entry door at the bottom of the stairs a bit to line up better with the edge of the snack ledge upon entering the room.
Below I have listed out some pros and cons that immediately came to mind:
-The new front wall (E) has plenty of access behind it (unfinished storage area) and it will be much easier to 1) build another wall and install backer boxes for in-wall L-C-R speakers
-The distance to first row of seating increases a foot or so
-The throw for a PJ is lengthened by a couple of feet (depending on where I mount) which will put me back into the regular PJs and potentially increase my options
-This arrangement allows for mounting of a PJ behind the boxed-out beam that crosses through the middle of the room between the front row of seating and the snack ledge - at a distance of 13-15' feet (higher ceiling in this area so I mount just low enough to get image underneath the beam)
-The snack ledge would be the same height as my last one (top of granite @ 42"H) so it will be helpful to have it underneath the higher ceiling in what would now be the back of the room
-There is a large aisle (36-38") in between the first row and the snack ledge and you would be able to walk uninterrupted through to the laundry room
-Distance to screen for those sitting at snack ledge would be around 17'. Not too far back.
-Still a few feet behind the stools at snack ledge so not too cramped back there
-Front wall underneath 80" bulkhead will restrict size of screen that can be mounted (there is no flex there even when I remove DW because a beam runs just above it). I'd likely have to go with a 92" or 100" screen at this juncture
-1 of 2 side-by-side lally columns become exposed on the new front wall when I demo out the two walls to square out the room. Old plan I was just going to bump the wall out around the column on what was the new back wall...however I cannot do that in this scenario because I need a flat front wall. I will have to consider building another wall in front of the exposed lally which will shorten the length of the room approx. 6-8 in. (sketch below does not yet show a new wall in front of it).
-The snack ledge is right on you when you walk in - not much I can do about that due to width of room though
-Entry door at bottom of stairs would need to open out not in
Still undecided as to what to do about the rack/equipment room. My gut is telling me to build a small room behind Wall D which would work great as it ties into the existing area behind/underneath the staircase. Just undecided on whether or not to keep the rack in-wall accessible for convenience (and have to leave theater to enter room on other side of basement) or to hide it completely and make a hidden door for entry there. If I did go with an in-wall accessible rack there (30" width), the edge of rack closest to the front of the room would be about 42" from the front wall.
I did not bother to put the PJ screen or front speaker locations on this sketch as L-C-R speakers would obviously go behind an AT screen.
Lots to think about and consider.
Why not move the water heater over, and move both doors to the back of the room, and the circulation space to work, as separation from rear surround speakers?
If you do a riser at one step height, then you could basically extend the bottom step to the back wall, and you enter the room at riser height, which also will hide
the hot water overflow discharge line. Now the hot water tank will need to be moved over slightly, to create a bit more space, but you now have a simple hinged
fabric panel hiding the door. The rack could be right outside this door, with a nice short conduit run to the projector, which needn't be short throw. Those bar seats
could now be roller chairs, to easy seating access.
You did mention moving the water line, and an electric hot water tank move shouldn't really wouldn't be that much extra work. (It does sound like you have some construction skills.)
I also think you might be shortchanging yourself on screen size. I also wouldn't drop that front section of room, to 80". You could also play up that entry area as a feature wall, and
have a movie poster lightbox, or a digital one.
The front post could simply be boxed in. You won't be seeing it and I'd doubt it would have any really impact on audio. You do want to absorb the small amount of energy coming off
an AT screen's backside.
Anyways, just tossing ideas at you... :)
I would not be able to carry a riser thru to the laundry area because there is a sump pump in the corner directly across from the HW heater (or in the case of your latest mock-up above). That area is only about 7 or 8 feet across to give you an idea of scale compared to the theater room. Plus, we are building a closet in there with bi-folds that will close off the HW heater and the sump pump from the laundry area. There is no room for the rack in there either as we are eventually going to put a bathroom next to the laundry area (in fact they are going to rough in some of that in the near future so we can build at a later time).
I also saw your comment about not dropping the ceiling to 80". Just to be clear, the bulkhead/ceiling on what is now proposed to be the front of the room is at 80" now. So, if I were to do some sort of a little stage along the front wall, I'd like only be working with like 71-72" of height on that wall (after stage, layers of plywood and carpet). IYO, would you go bigger than 100"??? Ideally I'd like to leave a MINIMUM of 3-4" above the screen so I have a little play if I go the projector route.
And you are correct about not seeing the newly exposed lally column in the front of the room. Just so I'm clear, I have to build a wall inside the existing wall (even where we planned to kick it out) so I can get that lally to fall in between the existing wall and the new inside wall. But, I am thinking I can use this to my advantage and essentially build a wall inside a wall - great strategy for soundproofing. I measured this evening (and cut a hole in the wall to see exactly where the lally falls) and it looks like I will lose just 7" of depth in the room by building another wall to hide the lally. I just have to be careful because the location of that lally could very well be near the location of the right front in-wall speaker...it's pretty damn close.
Your sound proofing/sound isolation is only going to be as good as the weakest link, so the double front wall is likely to not really buy you anything.
I saw the sump pump but I also wonder exactly how much clearance is need to remove the sump pump? So what if the hot water tank was raised on a
steel stand, and would that create space to allow the pump's removal while also getting you the inches needed, to make things work spatially? The expansion
tank I have zero experience with, but could it be moved over and leverage the height over the sump pump?
I have the 7' 1" basement here, and there's a door under the main support beam, and it was cut down several inches to fit. I actually ended up cutting
down all doors in the basement to match, so I have some drywall above the door to not visually tip the fact the basement is lower then the man floor.
Some of this is all about expensive square footage, and a small inner city home, so over the years, that has shifted the bar about allotting inches and
sometimes selectively investing some money, time and effort, to squeeze what I want, out of the space I have.
So what is the building code where you are, regarding finished spaces? Here it is a certain percentage of the room needing the a minimum of 7'
Another option is could your speakers be built into a baffle wall? And shave some room depth that way.
I just want to make sure we're talking diagonal measurements of the screen and we're both talking diagonal. If that a 100" diagonal screen, then
a lot of measurements in your space are in mine, and while I would sell anyone on my space being optimal with front speaker spread, there is a 54x96"
screen and a masking system, under a soffit with 80" above. I do not have a second row, so second row sightlines don't factor in, but that seating layout
with the low riser can be worked to fit stuff in. The real trick is to do a side view of the room, with all measurements, with the projector situated for proper throw.
And if you have your seats, you now can take accurate measurements, of heads, eyes and ears, and then there is zero guessing if how the inches are planted,
let the second row see the bottom of the screen. Another option might be a scope screen, and anamorphic lens. Less screen height but wider screen.
The projector also need to be around the top of the screen, so the projector will need to fall to be over the bar. One can also mock up the space, from a drawn
plan, and see how everything interacts.
Why not move the hot water and expansion tanks, and hide the waste line clean out, in the closet also?
And I expect one could break the concrete and put in a new support pad, on undisturbed soil. There's also a possibility of
recessing a new steel beam up into the floor joist space, and having a flat ceiling, out from the leading edge of that soffiting up front.
Skip the riser, and simply use some taller rolling office chairs. Then maybe have a raised section of floor under the bar, to have a foot rest?
I also wonder if the sump pump discharge could be moved to the back wall, and an av rack like a Middle Atlantic Slim5 could be hosted in the closet above the sump pump.
One could build those French doors and have the av rack exposed in one of the doors. Might be a hard working bit of space right there, with some work involved.
Yes, we are talking diagonal for screen. So what you are saying is that you managed a 110" diagonal on an 80"H wall?
I do need to do some side view renderings...great idea.
Oh, and ceiling height code for AA County is as follows:
Habitable Rooms = 7'0"
Other Areas = 6'8"
Under Beams & Ducts = 6'4"
Yes to a 54x96" AT screen, and there's some room also taken up by an embedded masking system. This diagram shows the front AT space, and a bunch of measurements of how it does fit in.
The bottom edge of the screen is either 16 or 18" off the floor.
The room was this is 2003, and there's a hidden door., which is the media storage. That was on three ball bearing hinges and swung inwards. The AT space is basically the storage closet that was in
behind. I actually redid the HVAC sheet metal with a less tall/more wide profile to be able to put in symmetrical soffits. And the sole reason for the soffit over the screen is to hide the S bend of HVAC.
The room was cut back in length and became a one row 3 seat room. The deep AT space isn't really wasted as it adds volume and hides two really big subs.
There's been a lot of lessons in this room. It would be built somewhat differently if there wasn't a chunk out of the front corner due to the foundation. I might have turned to some nice in walls and built
custom built subs if I wasn't invested in my speakers. That would have lengthen the room a bit more.
So to me, the real question is how you lay out the inches, and that bar row sightline. One unexpected lesson is I rather like the screen lower then one would normally mount it. One day I disabled the lower
mask on a whim after realizing my gear can tie a video image to the bottom edge of the screen. Didn't I really like that! Now the single row layout is probably get away with that, but the masking does eat up
vertical space so I think you have a ton of room to play with, with the key being the side sight lines and how you can leverage that tighter seating foot print.
Now, regarding maximum amperage, in the U.S. we rate receptacles and fuses by their maximum theoretical load. However, electricians then apply the "80% rule" to that. You are not supposed to load a circuit more than 80% of its maximum. So, in a typical use case for example, 80% of 20-amps is 16-amps (in line with what you seem to have in Norway). The 80% factor is used for two reasons: 1) because many appliances will "spike" current momentarily, and this can trip the circuit breaker; and 2) many breakers will trip at less than 20-amps because they are slanted that way in terms of tolerance (safety as priority).
In my HT, I have 4 circuits that feed into my HT room. I know that sounds like overkill, but they break down like this:
That's a electrical hot water tank and highly movable. But I wouldn't have to pay to have it moved, I would do it myself. (That can be a gamechanger for the door location.)
But it would be a day's leisurely work, and all of $20 to do, plus find a way for the pressure relief value drain routing.
Check your furnace service manual for what's need combustion and service-wise, for that near bathroom wall. And think what's need for a fan blower motor replacement.
I kind of thought you were a knowledgeable DIY'er/serial renovator because of some of the issues you pointed out, like not being able to embed electrical boxes behind drywall. I see
I missed the word contractor that you used in post 1 so that kind of changes the cost/reward of some previous suggestions.
So how wide is the theater? And I gather that's a 3 piece bath you are after? What will be the access to the storage, and are you planning for that to have access to the rest of the basement?
Just asking questions because I see options that may, or may not work for you.
@Tedd always has great suggestions. :)
I'll second how critical the height position of your screen is. Figure out screen dimensions, seating distance (1st row), eye level, screen ratio, and height/position of the screen. Those factors really should drive your room layout to a very large extent.
Regarding the laundry room door, you could consider concealed hinges and concealing the door (with or without using panels, as was done in some of the shared pics above).
Interjecting a thought with regards to whether or not to flip the room around.... My experience (FWIW) is that most people prefer a scenario where a shorter ceiling height exists where the screen is mounted versus where they sit, as compared to the other way around. If the room height is larger where the screen is and shorter where the people sit/stand, they tend to feel like they are in a cave and being squashed. It is subtle and people will get used to it either way, but the initial feeling is going to be that way for most people. If the ceiling height is lower where the screen is mounted, it creates a sort of tunnel-vision effect, which is fine for movie watching. It simply focuses one's visual attention, which is what you want in the first place.
Food for thought. :)
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